I'll Replace You

Nov. 22, 2008 - Jan. 10, 2009

Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY

solo show, The analytical and the personal approach comes to extreme entanglement in "I'll Replace You." For this project the McCoys put out a casting call and subsequently hired fifty actors to replace them in executing the many responsibilities they undertake every day. The resulting 15 minutes long video zeroes in on the actor, the idea of typecasting, and the fragmentation of life. Dispensing with Hollywood cornerstone of continuity for each of the "roles" the McCoys play in life (artist, professor, parent, friend, spouse), they cast five different actors. They staged scenes in and around their real lives. Often hilariously miscast and self-stereotyped, the actors play Jennifer and Kevin, interacting with their real children, students, and colleagues in improvised scenes set in their house, studio, and universities. In the editing, the film intercuts the different actors’ interpretations of the McCoys' lives. The story unfolds as a kind of "day in the life". It begins in the morning with the family waking up, having breakfast, and leaving the house. The day then splinters into fragments, including more events than would ever be possible in real time. Coffee with friends, work in the studio, critiques with students, talking with curators, playtime with kids, dinner out, and after dinner drinks are all edited together into one impossible day. The faces change but the story continues, in a roundabout way, to progress as the day goes on. The video underlines the complexity of contemporary life, made up as it is by millions of tiny gestures.


Works Shown

Artists Talks

2008, installation

Actors unfamiliar with the work and language of contemporary art are asked to spontaneously present the works of well known artists as their own. The improvised talks are set up as a video database where viewers can choose from the eighteen three-minute long discs. While dexterous in their presentational abilities, the actors deliver information that is suspect, relying on popular pre- and mis-conceptions of art and face value descriptors of the images presented. Although the tone of the performances ranges from comic to sincere to insightful, this work reveals the "artists talk" to be a convention bound genre, but also illuminates the relativity and occasional pretension of accepted canon. The actors' struggle reminds us of the limitation of any attempt to explain visual art with language.

Jennifer and Ken McCoy/Jessica and Kevin McCoy

2008, digital C-print

Exploring the idea of substitution, two large scale photographs. "Jennifer and Ken McCoy/Jessica and Kevin McCoy" are post performative photographs in which one of the artists is paired with a rotating array of passer-bys, friends, and colleagues dressed as the significant other. Here the genre of "couple" is explored through a deadpan mosaic of costumed participants. In these works, the enframing of two people reveals the ease with which someone is replaced and the instant plausibility of that replacement.

I'll Replace You

2008, video, color, sound

For this project the McCoys hired fifty actors to replace them in executing the many responsibilities they undertake every day. The resulting 15 minutes long video zeroes in on the actor, the idea of typecasting, and the fragmentation of life. Dispensing with Hollywood cornerstone of continuity for each of the "roles" the McCoys play in life (artist, professor, parent, friend, spouse), they cast five different actors. They staged scenes in and around their real lives. Often hilariously miscast and self-stereotyped, the actors play Jennifer and Kevin, interacting with their real children, students, and colleagues in improvised scenes set in their house, studio, and universities. In the editing, the film intercuts the different actors' interpretations of the McCoys' lives. The story unfolds as a kind of "day in the life". It begins in the morning with the family waking up, having breakfast, and leaving the house. Coffee with friends, work in the studio, critiques with students, talking with curators, playtime with kids, dinner out, and after dinner drinks are all edited together into one impossible day. The video underlines the complexity of contemporary life, made up as it is by millions of tiny gestures.

Clouds #4 (UFO)

2005, Wall-mounted kinetic video sculpture

The Cloud series was inspired by Alfred Stieglitz’s Equivalent Series (1922-35), a photographic study of clouds as pure pattern. In this work, a cloud formation is airbrushed onto the surface of a cylinder. The cylinder is mounted to a motor, which rotates it slowly. A live video camera captures this image which gives the appearance of clouds moving across the sky, creating a one shot movie. In the foreground of the live video image, a group of people stand next to a car, pointing at a distant UFO floating in the still desert sky.